Today we have our last reading from the sixth chapter of St John’s Gospel. Those who have been with Jesus have seen the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. They have heard Jesus when he talks about himself as the word of life, the food of life. Finally, they hear him say, “my flesh is real food and blood is real drink. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I dwell in that person.”
This is a moment of decision for those listening and also for the twelve. As one writes has said “Jesus has pushed and deepened the question of absolute meaning and relationship with him all the way through the Bread of Life Discourse, and we have wound up with a crucial moment: together with the disciples we must
answer with an assent toward faith or reject Jesus and depart.”
We hear Jesus not only asking those with him by the Sea of Galilee but to us also, “Does this upset you? The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” Many in the crowd who up to this point considered themselves disciples found his words intolerable and left him and stopped going with him. What about you and I? Jesus turns to us and as he asked his disciples he asks us “Do you want to go away too?”
Every time we come to receive Jesus in communion we respond, “Amen”. Our response is an expression of faith. We freely accept the divine presence. Are we ready also to fully embrace the demands of being disciples of Christ?
Let us join with Peter and through the grace of the Spirit be able to say, “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Here is a prayer of Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap.
Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life. We believe, Lord, strengthen our faith.
Strengthen our faith as we grow in love of your holy words, as we chew them and draw life from them.
Strengthen our faith in your presence in the holy bread of Eucharist. May we become what we hear and
receive. May we be one with you as you live in us and we live in you. Drawing life from you, may our thinking,
our values, attitudes and behaviour increasingly manifest you to the world.
O Lord, we pray for those who have walked away from your holy table. Help them to hear your word with
understanding. May they receive the gift of faith and be drawn to receive your holy presence.
You have the words of eternal life.
You are the Bread of Life.